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Robicheaux et al. – Our Day in Federal Court



Marriage Equality has swept the land over the last year since the ruling in Windsor vs. The United States. This week was no different with the striking of the Indiana ban and the 10th Circuit upholding a lower court’s decision in the Utah case.  Another case went to Federal Court this week – our very own little case here in Louisiana.

If you’ve been paying attention to my articles and following us, you’ve seen this little case evolve over the past 11 months. 

On Wednesday June 25th 2014, my husband and I woke up and did our morning routine. This morning would be a little different, we weren’t preparing for work, or to go on an outing.  We were preparing for Federal Court; the day had finally come for Louisiana’s equality case to go on trial.

As we entered the court room, which was filled to capacity with an overflow room next door, there was much chatter among the people, giving their opinions one way or another on what they thought the judge would say or ask. The feeling in the courtroom was one of excitement, but yet some caution. We felt the supporting vibe that was all around us and that would continue to follow us throughout the entire day.

Judge Feldman took his seat; he carefully explained what he expected in his courtroom. Feldman referred to the case as one of “insatiable national interest” and would not tolerate any outbursts. From the get go, the man commanded a certain kind of respect that, like him or not, you appreciated. Let me just say for the record, I like the man and highly respect him.

The judge allotted 30 minutes to each side. So the volleying of tennis match begins. The judge asked his questions, often times joking with the attorneys about needing whiskey in their cups instead of water — Because that’s how we roll in the Big Easy.

Feldman went on to say - 

“I wonder if the constitutional rights of the person in Windsor are properly defined as being the same rights as here today. Windsor basically said the federal government could not discriminate against New York. May or may not Louisiana do what the federal government cannot do itself?”

Feldman drilled his questions and statements out in commanding fashion, “I accept the fact the plaintiffs have a sense of having a grievance. The issue before the court is if that grievance rises to constitutional dignity.”

As the defense took the podium to hammer their side, the judge asks of Kyle Duncan, the lawyer from the attorney general’s office who represented the state: “There are 13 district courts that disagree with you. Why are you right? And keep in mind I mentored some of those judges.”

That state argued that in Windsor (the state only quoted from seven pages as their defense,) Kennedy wrote that the state of New York had a constitutional right to have its voters choose whether to have same-sex marriage and that the government could not interfere with that. Voters and Louisiana also had that same right when they put the marriage ban in place, according to Duncan.  While we disagree, the question will come down to does it violate federal constitutional rights?

After the arguments, the judge pulled something that I see daily as I watch Days of Our Lives. Originally it was decided by all parties, mainly Feldman, that the only section of the lawsuit that would be handled in this hearing was recognition of the out of state marriages, leaving the in state marriage question and the 1st amendment question to a later time. But Judge Feldman stated he did not want to “piecemeal” this decision.  “I feel uncomfortable resolving some issues one way or the other and not all issues one way or another,” explained Feldman.

Overall we are happy with that decision, giving the chance for every LGBT couple currently residing in Louisiana the opportunity to marry in their home. To deal with this issue, the judge brought counsel for all parties into his chambers. 

The ultimate decision is that Judge Feldman wants more briefs from the parties that will be due in 21 days. He will then decide if he wants replies from each side and then another oral argument session. In my opinion, and it’s my opinion only, I don’t think he will call for more arguments, everything was said today in court. I am taking a stab, but I believe that he will rule on this case sometime in mid to late August or early September. There is a lot of precedence out there for him to look at with all the other favorable district court rulings, not to mention a favorable higher court ruling in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals that came down while we were in court.

We pray for a favorable ruling, and feel good about our day in court.  However the ruling comes out, we expect the state to appeal, and we will definitely appeal a non-favorable ruling. We have come too far on this path to stop now! On behalf of my husband and I, and all the other plaintiffs, I’d like to say thank you to everyone who has sent us words of encouragement, and has supported us from day one. You don’t know what it means to have those positive things flow into our email boxes and on face book, we see a lot of negativity out there so it’s nice to see your support and love– To keep up with our case please like our Facebook page and navigate to our website.



bio.jpgDerek Penton-Robicheaux, 36, is a native of Mississippi and a longtime resident of New Orleans.  He holds degrees in computer information systems and paramedicine.

 After more than five years together, Derek and his husband, Jonathan Penton-Robicheaux, were legally married in Iowa on Sept. 23, 2012. The two are the first plaintiffs involved in the Federal Same-Sex Marriage Lawsuit in Louisiana, Robicheaux et al. v Caldwell.

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Lindsey Graham Admonished by Senate Ethics Committee



U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has been formally admonished by the Senate Ethics Committee for violating ethics rules and standards by repeatedly soliciting campaign donations during an interview at the Capitol.

The bipartisan committee issued Graham a Public Letter of Admonition after the South Carolina Republican solicited donations for Georgia GOP Senate nominee Herschel Walker.

“Based upon all available information, the Committee concluded that on November 30, 2022, you conducted a media interview with Fox News in the rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building and that your interview was slightly over nine minutes, with over four minutes devoted to a discussion of the 2022 senatorial run-off election in Georgia. The Committee further concluded that during your discussion of the senatorial run-off election, you directly solicited campaign contributions on behalf of Mr. Walker’s campaign committee,, five separate times.”

The letter notes that Sen. Graham had previously violated the same standards when he solicited campaign donations in a federal building in October of 2020, but said it was an “unplanned media interview.” When a reporter had asked him about fundraising, Graham “directly solicited campaign contributions” for his re-election campaign.

READ MORE: Watch: GOP Lawmaker Orders Grieving Parkland Parents Removed From ‘ATF Overreach’ Hearing

The Committee noted “mitigating” circumstances and did not cite him for that violation.

“The public must feel confident that Members use public resources only for official actions in the best interests of the United States, not for partisan political activity,” the letter concludes. “Your actions failed to uphold that standard, resulting in harm to the public trust and confidence in the United States Senate. You are hereby admonished.”

CNN’s Manu Raju posted the letter to social media.

You can read the letter below or at this link.

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Watch: GOP Lawmaker Orders Grieving Parkland Parents Removed From ‘ATF Overreach’ Hearing



U.S. Rep. Pat Fallon (R-TX) is being criticized for having the parents of a victim of the Parkland school massacre removed from a GOP-led House committee hearing on “ATF Overreach” after he deemed them “out of order” for remarks they made while a Member was speaking. Minutes later, Capital Police pinned the father to the ground in the hallway and arrested him.

“See this is, exactly what we have to avoid!” Rep. Fallon, chairing the joint hearing, angrily declared as he pointed his finger after the father, Manuel Oliver, made a remark that was inaudible. “Which is some minority of folks trying to silence dissent. Dissent shouldn’t be kryptonite.”

“There’s a decorum that should be adhered to,” Fallon, who recently refused to sign a statement denouncing white supremacy, said as he chastising Oliver.

After another, louder outburst, Fallon mockingly asked, “Is this an insurrection? So will they be held to the same — I don’t want another January 6.”

READ MORE: ‘Unlawful Incursion’: Manhattan DA Schools Jim Jordan for Demanding He Testify in Ongoing Trump Investigation

Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI) responded, “If they’re trying to overthrow the government, they oughta be held to the same standard, but I think they’re trying to express their frustrations.”

Angrily again, Rep. Fallon interjected.

“Whoa whoa whoa whoa,” he shouted as he banged the gavel.

“Member’s out of line,” Fallon said (incorrectly. The term is “out of order.”)

Shortly thereafter, Rep. Fallon had both Manuel and Patricia Oliver removed.

ABC News reporter Will Steakin, who was in the hearing, tweeted video and said bot Manuel and Patricia Oliver “appear to leave without resistance… moments later there was a loud thud outside the hearing room and I found Manuel being pinned to the ground by multiple officers.”

“Manuel Oliver, the father of a 17-year-old Parkland shooting victim, was arrested Thursday on Capitol Hill after he appeared to shout at a Republican lawmaker who was speaking during a hearing on gun regulations,” NBC News reports. Patricia Oliver, his wife and the mother of their 17-year old son, Joaquin Oliver, who was one of 17 people who died in the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre, was not arrested.

READ MORE: ‘National Security Implications’: Former DOJ Official Speculates on Ruling Ordering Trump Attorney to Hand Over Docs

On social media critics expressed anger at Fallon.

“Rep. Pat Fallon (R) thinks parents of slaughtered children should just sit down & shut up as Republicans maintain outrageously dangerous gun laws. He had this parent expelled rather than just giving a warning, which is the usual,” wrote one Twitter user.

“Texas Rep. Pat Fallon: You are the EXACT problem with the gun violence and why it keeps being the leading cause of death in children today,” wrote another.

According to the NIH, gun violence is the leading cause of childhood death.

Still another Twitter user blasted Fallon: “What disgraceful & despicable behavior by Representative Pat Fallon. Exercising your right to free speech is being an insurrectionist? The man lost his son. Have you no compassion? I think he has more than earned the right to be heard by Congress. Such an abuse of power.”

And one called Fallon “feckless.”

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‘Repercussions’: Biden White House Warns Uganda ‘Kill the Gays’ Bill Could Force US to Cancel $950 Million in Annual Aid



The Biden administration may cancel the $950 million in annual assistance the U.S. provides to Uganda if President Yoweri Museveni signs into law its latest “Kill the Gays” bill, which calls for the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” and between ten and 20 years in prison for other LGBTQ “acts.”

National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby on Wednesday made clear if Uganda further criminalizes homosexuality and the LGBTQ community there could be “repercussions that we would have to take.”

“That would be really unfortunate because so much of the economic assistance that we provide Uganda is health assistance,” Admiral Kirby said at a White House press briefing.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre also told reporters Wednesday the Biden administration has “grave concerns” over the Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA), and “increasing violence targeting LGBTQIA+ persons.”

READ MORE: Florida GOP Lawmaker Who Wrote ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill Facing Up to 35 Years After Pleading Guilty in COVID Fraud Case

“If the AHA is signed into law and enacted, it would impinge upon universal human rights, jeopardize progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS, deter tourism and invest in Uganda and damage Uganda’s international reputation,” Jean-Pierre warned. “The bill is one of the most extreme anti-LGBTQI+ laws in the world.”

Kirby and Jean-Pierre’s remarks came on the same day as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken denounced Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” legislation, saying it “would undermine fundamental human rights of all Ugandans and could reverse gains in the fight against HIV/AIDS.”

“The United States provides more than $950 million in aid to Uganda each year, according to the State Department. The money supports development and health care measures, such as combating HIV/AIDS,” Courthouse News reported Wednesday. “Uganda is already among 30 African countries that ban same-sex relations. The new proposal would broaden penalties and appears to be the first to outlaw identifying as LGBTQ+, according to Human Rights Watch.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

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